PITTSBURGH - The Stanley Cup was in the building, but the Pittsburgh Penguins made sure it was put back in its case.

It won't be handed out until Friday night at Joe Louis Arena, when the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings will play a Game 7 to determine this season's NHL champion.

Energy line players Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy each had a goal while Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves in a bounce-back performance Tuesday as the Penguins staved off elimination with a tight 2-1 victory over the Red Wings.

Kris Draper replied for the Red Wings.

It was the exact same situation the teams found themselves in last June, but these Penguins are just a little older and wiser. They survived a white-knuckle third period that saw Detroit pushing hard for the equalizer.

Fleury refused to surrender that goal just three nights after being pulled midway through a 5-0 loss in Game 5. He was key in helping his team kill off two penalties in the final 20 minutes, sending the series back to Motown for an exciting finale.

Commissioner Gary Bettman had flown across the continent from a court hearing in Phoenix just in case the trophy needed to be handed to Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom after Game 6. The trophy was even taken out of its case and shined up, but the Cup keepers had to pack it up for a return trip to Michigan.

The Red Wings were expecting a desperate hockey team and that's exactly what they got in the first period. Pittsburgh carried the play in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Wings 12-3, but failing to get one past Chris Ogood.

Sidney Crosby had the puck roll off his stick early while Bill Guerin failed to take a shot after cutting into the middle and finding himself with a scoring chance.

Even though Fleury wasn't seeing much rubber at the other end, he had to be sharp. He got a blocker on an excellent opportunity from Henrik Zetterberg and later squeezed his pads closed with the Red Wings superstar on the doorstep once again.

Detroit had to be feeling a little fortunate when the buzzer sounded and the score was still tied. It survived two power plays and wasn't able to gain much momentum.

The second period was key to Pittsburgh's victory in Game 4 and it played a big role in this one. Staal got his fourth goal of the playoffs at 51 seconds after racing in on a 2-on-1 break, rattling a shot off Osgood's facemask and putting in the rebound.

That got Mellon Arena rocking and the decibel level only went up when Matt Cooke knocked Pavel Datsyuk's helmet off with a thundering check in the corner. The Penguins were looking determined and held a 21-8 shots advantage as the clock ticked past the midpoint of the game.

However, that's when Detroit was starting to take back some control, working the puck around the offensive zone and directing a few shots at Fleury.

Zetterberg was denied on another great chance - this time seeing the puck hit the post and land safely under the Penguins goalie.

Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko both found themselves with opportunities of their own in the final minute but neither was able to get the puck behind Osgood, setting up a wild third period.

The Penguins briefly got some breathing room after Kennedy came out from behind the goal and shovelled in a rebound at 5:35. He pumped his fists as the fans feverishly waved white towels.

A lesser team might have cowered at that point, but the mighty Red Wings kept coming. Draper scored his first of the playoffs less than three minutes later when he went to the net and was rewarded with a juicy rebound.

Detroit's momentum continued when Evgeni Malkin was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking, but Penguins blue-liner Rob Scuderi managed to swipe away a loose rebound on the best chance. Another test was coming.

Guerin was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking Draper at 12:40 and the Penguins had to kill another long two minutes off the clock.

Again the chances came. Fleury turned away Dan Cleary on a clear breakaway with less than two minutes to play.

Amazingly, the Penguins managed to survive and will live to see another day. They've been pushed and pushed throughout these playoffs, but have never wilted.

"There are times when this team, our team, has had a chance to buckle and didn't," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said before the game. "We were down three goals in Philly in the first round in Game 6. We did not buckle. We were challenged by a good Washington team that was playing very well and their stars were playing exceptional, and we didn't buckle.

"And we played a strong series and forced a good Carolina team that was playing great hockey to not win a game. Now we've been faced with another challenge and another chance to see how we're going to play."

They passed with flying colours.

Notes: It was the 25 years to the day since Pittsburgh drafted Mario Lemieux ... Nicklas Lidstrom keeps climbing the all-time playoff games list - he's now tied for fourth with Claude Lemieux at 234 ... Teams hosting Game 6 of the Stanley Cup in a must-win situation now have a record of 10-14 ... Osgood is now 11-5 in 17 Stanley Cup appearances ... Guerin had five shots on goal in the first period ... Announced attendance was 17,132 - the 118th consecutive sellout at Mellon Arena.

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